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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019

Pan-European study on evictions to report on measures to counter homelessness

A NUI Galway researcher is to lead the €1 million study on evictions in 28 EU member States.

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A MAJOR STUDY into the number of evictions taking place in Europe is to be undertaken by a researcher at NUI Galway.

Dr Padraic Kenna of the School of Law, NUI Galway will lead a major €1 million EU-funded research project on evictions across the 28 European Union Member States. The research will investigate the national legal frameworks and extent of evictions across Europe.

Europe-wide study

Speaking to about his research, that will take up to two years to complete, he said: “This is the first pan-European study to be done on this. No one really knows the full extent of the situation with evicitions across the 28 countries.”

He said there are varying laws relating to evictions and his study aims to come up with recommendation for the European Commission on best practices.

“Many countries have different systems in operation – while some have detailed records about what happens to people who get evicted, other countries have very little. Denmark  keeps detailed records about the circumstances of evictees for years after, with details about what they are doing afterwards, are they homeless, did the receive social housing and so on, while  countries like Italy have rather poor statistics,” he said.

Dr Kenna said that “no one really knows what the big picture is,” adding that his researchers, located across Europe aim to come up with detailed figures and explantions.

Speaking about evictions in Ireland, Dr Kenna said they are relatively low in comparison to our European counterparts, but said: “Every eviction however is a traumatic experience and that cannot be underestimated. In Ireland evictions are a collision of housing rights and property rights”.

He added:

In Ireland we have a deeply historical sentiment on evictions. Michael Davitt wrote that an eviction was the expression of the power of profit and of property over the right of a family.

Today, an eviction represents the collision of basic human rights with property rights, and while the European Union is committed to the protection of human rights, the balance of these interests represents the contemporary fault line between market forces and people’s right to housing.

Dr Kenna said he hoped his research will also determine what side the state is on when it comes to evictions. “In Spain we know there are about 400,000 evictions taking place, however this includes both residential and commercial property, so it can be difficult to see the full picture,” he said.

He added that measures to prevent homelessness within all EU Member States remain a priority for the European Commission, so collating and evaluating the most cost-effective measures which can be advanced to mitigate evictions across the EU is to be welcomed.

The project team will prepare reports and recommendations for the European Commission on best practice models, to monitor, alleviate and prevent evictions, within the framework of national and EU law and policy.

Read: Anti-eviction activists vow to protect Kanturk family home>

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